Summer in Butts County has already arrived, despite what the calendar might say at the time of this writing. School is out, vacation plans are underway for many and the air conditioning is already cranked up as spring gives way to summer, the longest season in the south. Here, our community is gearing up for the season and this means fun for you and your family. Here are a few highlights about some of our local tourist destinations and what is going on with them these days:

Indian Springs State Park, the oldest state park in the nation, is getting some much-needed attention from the State of Georgia. Repairs to the dam on McIntosh Lake has required lower water levels over the past year, with less water running down the famous rocks along Highway 42, but the lake is now full again and will soon be restocked with fish as the repairs are moving along. Several of the weekend cabins, available for rent from the park, have been completely renovated and others are being renovated at this time to make them even better. Other rehabilitation projects are going on in different areas, a lot of which you will notice the next time you drive through. The biggest project, however, is beginning this month with the construction of the new Indian Springs Conference Center, which is scheduled to begin in mid-June. The new conference center, which will be suitable for all kinds of things from educational events, reunions, wedding receptions and community banquets, will seat 500 at tables when it is completed around February of 2018. It represents a multimillion dollar investment in the community and our famous state park. Renovations to the Park Museum will also be coming in the near future. Check back for updates or click here to find out more about Indian Springs State Park!

The Village at Indian Springs has a lot going on as well, and you can plan a weekend and stay on site if you like. Luxury cottages offer first class accommodations, as nice as any you will find in Atlanta, with shopping in the Village just a few steps away. Antique stores, an outdoor equipment outfitter, ice cream and homemade fudge, art and exhibits, the Indian Springs Hotel Museum and of course the Big Chief Country Store offer plenty to see and do, plus there will be events scheduled at the Village Amphitheater this summer that you might want to catch…or just take a walk through the Whimsical Garden with its paved walking path, interesting exhibits and numerous botanicals. One annual event you should see is the Annual Native American Festival, held at the Indian Springs Hotel Museum on September 9th and 10th, a fun and fascinating event, suitable for families. The Village is located adjacent to Indian Springs State Park and just a few miles from Dauset Trails Nature Center so plan a weekend to see it all. Here is a link to their website!

One summer event that has been drawing visitors to Butts County for 127 years running is the Indian Springs Holiness Camp Meeting, one of the oldest Camp Meetings in Georgia, that began in 1890 just one mile north of Indian Springs State Park. Kicking off this year on July 13th and running through July 23rd, Camp Meeting is an opportunity for fellowship, spiritual renewal and celebration through word, scripture and music. Offering services several times a day in the original covered outdoor worship center, the Indian Springs Holiness Camp Meeting proclaims the Wesleyan tradition of Biblical holiness, as taught by John Wesley and the early Methodists. Indian Springs Camp Meeting continues to present a message that is relevant to all aspects of contemporary Spiritual life and welcomes everyone, regardless of denominational affiliation, who seeks to experience the fullness of God’s grace and to grow in spiritual maturity. To learn more about this year’s Camp Meeting, check out their website!

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Jackson Lake is a busy place to be, but the lake is so big that there is always room for everyone to come and have a day of fun, on or by the water. With a 137 miles of shoreline and touching three counties, Jackson Lake is a premier recreational amenity that draws people from all over the area, including Atlanta and Macon, for boating, skiing, wake boarding, sailing, swimming or just relaxing. It is also the beginning point of the Ocmulgee River Corridor, which goes all the way from Jackson Lake to Macon and beyond, suitable for rafting, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and exploring nature. Managed by Georgia Power, Jackson Lake has been providing a cool summer fun place since it was constructed in 1911 and Lloyd Shoals Park, located adjacent to the dam, offers picnicking, playgrounds and a sandy beach to enjoy for a very low admission price ($5.00 per vehicle). If you have a boat, you can put it in the water there too or a variety of marinas on the lake offer rentals as well if you prefer to rent a boat. You might like it so much that you may want to live here, and that can be arranged as there is always a variety of lake real estate available for show by highly qualified realtors. To find out more, visit their website! 

Dauset Trails Nature Center is very popular to visit during the summer months when the kids are always looking for something fun to do and admission is always free. Why not spend a day or two in the great outdoors? The privately owned, non-profit nature center offers a variety of things to do, with special events planned at different times during the summer months. They will kick things off with a Fishing Rodeo on June 10th in the pond behind the Visitor’s Center from 9AM until noon and all you have to bring is your own bait and equipment and you can keep whatever you catch. Summer camps, blacksmithing and syrup-making exhibitions, walking trails, mountain biking trails, movies under the stars, picnicking and much more await you this summer at Dauset Trails Nature Center and you can find more information about them at this link!

So what else is going on in the Jackson-Butts County community this summer? A couple of new businesses are opening up on the downtown square in Jackson that I think should be mentioned.

Bradley’s Olde Tavern opened this week on the corner of Oak and Second Street after months of renovations and preparation. Located in the building that for years was the home of Beckham’s 5 & 10, Bradleys features an elegant interior with beautiful wooden bars and booths, stain glass lamps and decorative features that call to mind the famous “Cheers” bar from the old television show. Food and drinks are available, with free parking on the square or just a block away in the city parking lot. As you can see from the picture from their Facebook page, this is a beautiful addition to the downtown Jackson area that will hopefully be a draw for both locals and visitors alike. A Ribbon Cutting Event is scheduled for June 13th at 5:30 PM and the grand opening celebration will continue on June 14th and 15th. To learn more about Bradley’s Olde Tavern, check out their Facebook page here! 

If you love coffee (and those of you that know me know that I live on coffee) and want to get it on the downtown square, help is on the way! Lucy Lu’s Coffee Cafe is getting ready to open this summer on the corner of Second and Mulberry, in the building that for many years housed the law offices of Dan Fears, Sr. and Jackson Flower Shop (which is now located a few feet away on Second Street). When I went by there recently, a construction crew was hard at work transforming the interior of the building into what I think both locals and visitors will find to be an attractive downtown coffee shop. The sign in the window touted gourmet coffee, pastries, cookies, a lunch menu and free wi-fi, all coming soon. Check back for more updates!

I think after reading up on all the fun things to do in Butts County during the summer, you’ll see why we are quickly becoming Georgia’s Outdoor Capitol, with our all of our lakes, rivers, parks, mountain biking trails, hiking trails, nature centers and other cool places to visit and see. Even if you are from Butts County, don’t miss everything going on around you and schedule some time to come and enjoy your home county…and if you are not from here but want a really neat place to get away for a weekend, check out Jackson-Butts County, as well as Flovilla, Jenkinsburg and Indian Springs. You’ll be glad you came by and we’re always glad to have you!

Have a fun and safe summer season!